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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33255
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have an 18 year old cat, who has recently started to drink

Customer Question

I have an 18 year old cat, who has recently started to drink a lot of water, plus is passing faeces around 4 times a day - often with blood and sometimes very pale.
What do you suggest?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry to hear of this with Kitkat. Drinking more than usual (polydipsia) and urinating a higher volume of urine (polyuria) are danger signs for quite a few disorders. These include both hepatic and renal insufficiencies, urinary tract infection involving the kidneys, diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism (both will also cause increased hunger (polyphagia)), hypercalcemia (increased serum calcium level), electrolyte (sodium, potassium, chloride) imbalances, and the rarer Addison's disease, diabetes insipidus, and brain tumor involving the hypothalamus. Kitkat's vet will need to perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests in order to clarify what those symptoms are signifying. Chronic renal insufficiency is by far the most common finding when polydipsia and gastrointestinal distress arise in an 18 year old. The uremia of kidney failure is responsible for the frequent defecation - often diarrhea and hematochezia (blood in the stool). Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am reluctant to put him through lots of tests, this has been going on for sometime now, 6 months at least. I am worried about him but haven't taken him to the vets for this reason and, due to his age, I do not want him to suffer unnecessarily, he has never been to the vets in his 18 years. Do you think the kindest thing would be to put him to sleep? He does, as you say, have an insatiable hunger and is often restless.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I understand your pragmatic approach. He's either diabetic, hyperthyroid or both and it's reasonable to assume that his 18 year old kidneys aren't working up to snuff to boot. Under the circumstances, euthanasia might well be a kindness. Please continue our conversation if you wish.